"Hello there, beautiful!" her dance partner remarked as they danced along with the other couples on the floor.
"Hello to you too, handsome," she purred, "What's your name?"
"Frank. Frank Gavin."
"Nice to meet you, Frank Gavin. I'm Barbara Gordon." She gave him a brilliant smile that warmed him.
She wasn't sure why she acted so impetuously, maybe to escape Bruce, or maybe to annoy him.
He's not the only fish in the sea, she could easily hook this man if she wanted.
It seemed that her dress is so impressive that she's getting glances from every man in the room. Or maybe it was her, letting herself have fun, and not busy mooning for a man who makes himself unavailable.
She smiled again at her partner and he glowed.
Bruce is watching her. He's furious at himself. Why does he always push everyone away? Especially the people he cares most about?
She's right, he holds in his emotions until there's nothing left but hostility and resentment. He should be the man holding her with her body next to his, not this stranger.
Damn it, she's so heartbreakingly beautiful tonight that it hurts.
He feels raw envy and wants to tear her away from this man, pull her close, and...then what? Get slapped? Try to beg her forgiveness?
He should admit to her that he's wrong. He's been mistreating her for too long. He's surprised she hasn't tried to claw his eyes out yet.
Exactly what does he feel for her?
She's beautiful, talented, bright, and always a step ahead of him. She balances his skills and anger, she expands his vision of the world.
What would he do if she left him?
He would be darker, more brutal, not tactful at all.
"I need her in my life. I'm an ass, what's wrong with me that I need to be constantly unhappy? "
When the music stops he's silently standing behind her as she turned from her dance partner and walked into him exactly as he planned.
"We need to talk. I want to ask for your forgiveness. I've been a stubborn ass. I'm sorry for everything, and I wouldn't blame you if you hit me, I deserve that and more." he said, unable to maintain eye contact.
Barbara stared at him as if he were some kind of alien.
"What?" she sputtered.
"So now you want to be nice for a while, and tomorrow go back to treating me like an apprentice instead of a human being? Is that how you'll quell your guilty conscience? You're so... so... so... annoying! I despise you, Bruce! You're not human. You disgust me."
She gave him an angry shove away from her and stormed off to the ladies' room. She wouldn't let him see her cry.
She hated herself for moping after him for so long.
She felt like a fool.
She splashed water on her face and repaired her makeup.
'God damn you, Bruce Wayne, you're such an ass, I'm done with it, I'm over you! I'll find a new man who'll treat me the way I deserve. I'm never going to be that miserable girl again. I deserve to be a Queen, not a puppet.'